Dewhurst Announces Budget Deal Makers
Lt. Gov. ignores rebels in selecting senators for conference committee
By Richard Whittaker,
3:22PM, Sat. Apr. 25, 2009
It looks like Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is attempting to avoid a Banquo's Ghost moment in the budget conference committee.
The lite guv made his announcement late Friday of the Senate side of the table: Finance Committee Chair Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, and his Vice-Chair Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, will be there, joined by Sens. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, Royce West, D-Dallas, and Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands.
So who's missing? Any of the five Dems that voted against SB1. In his press release, Dewhurst makes no direct reference to them, saying instead that he expects the conferees to negotiate a budget that reflects "my, and a majority of our members' priorities."
That said, some Dems only voted 'aye' because, well, it's traditional that the budget leave the Senate on a unanimous vote or not at all. Tough decision: Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, (who voted yes) told the Texas Lyceum, "How do you go back and tell your constituents, 'I didn't fight for you because I upheld tradition'?"
But West and Hinojosa know that half of their own caucus voted against their budget, and their own caucus chair called the House budget process "more integrated, more inclusive, and more specific and focused."
Significantly, the House conferees (TBA) will know that too.